BEIRUT: Three suspects detained over their alleged role in the kidnapping of two Turkish pilots were released on bail Monday, a judicial source said.
The source told The Daily Star that Mount Lebanon Investigative Judge Ziad Mekanna ordered the men's release on LL500,000 bail each.
The three suspects – two of them members of the Saleh family and a third from the Zogheib family – were interrogated over their alleged involvement in the August kidnapping of two Turkish Airlines pilots on the Beirut airport highway.
Mekanna had referred earlier Monday a request for their release to the prosecutor’s office in Mount Lebanon.
The Turkish pilots were released Saturday after mediations which also saw the freeing of nine Lebanese held by Syrian rebels since May 2012.
Mekanna's decision was also consistent with Mount Lebanon Prosecutor Judge Claude Karam's opinion who did not appeal the release.
“Releasing the three does not mean the case is closed because they are suspects on charges of involvement in abduction and their case will remain open while they are free,” a judicial source told The Daily Star.
The three will have to appear in front of the investigative judge upon his request and stand trial if their case is referred to court.
“It will require a judicial decision to close the case after determining whether the three were involved in the abduction,” the source said.
As for the 10 warrants issued against most of the relatives of the pilgrims, the source said the warrants were still in effect.
“No one has yet asked to withdraw the warrants as that would also require the approval of the investigative judge,” the source added.